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Felucia - Jedi Temple


handofthrawn
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The villagers watched carefully as a ship landed at their outskirts. Before this any aid had been caravanned through the jungles, mostly by animal or wagon, some by cautious speeder. The mechanized being gave them pause, sending a ripple of fear through the village. Such an automaton-abomination was all too clear a reminder of the faceless war machines and creations of the Sith that had sought to suppress them and drive them as slaves before them.

 

Members of the Jungle Felucian warrior castes, this village had been hard pressed in the Sith onslaught, it was why Leena was there helping to tend to their wounded. Even after the battle, it was these skullblade wielding warriors who were the first to venture into the devastating mists looking for their people and tending to those they came across.

 

So now, even as the one that looked to be a Sith dream come to fruition strode into their village, they met her with an envoy of regailed and painted combatants while from the trees and shadows a dozen plus more watched, their bows held to the ready. They sniffed at the air, sniffing the woman’s presence within the force itself; cautious to believe she meant them no harm. They had seen deceit masqueraded before them all too often.

 

One particularly brave fellow stepped forward, a spear held guardedly in his hands, colorful feathers adorning the shaft where the poke met the razored edges of jagged durasteel salvaged from the jungle’ depths.

 

—————————-

 

“No no no.” Cane a voice from out of sight as a slight fishy Mon Cal in brown robes caked in blood and mud rounded the corner, carving a path through the even shorter native Jungle Felucians. “She is here for me.”

 

A growl escaped the gathered warriors as their glinting eyes and blades shifted towards Zeris. Animalistic and predatory, it signaled an immediate dislike for the nee arrival. It was a reason. That was all they needed.

 

”No!” Leena’s voice carried over the cacophony with alarm. “With me! She is here WITH me, not, oh nevermind.”  The Healer offered Zeris an exasperated smile as she rolled her eyes. “Welcome to the jungle,” she shrugged her shoulders making her way through the rest and brushing away the leader’s poison-tipped spear.

 

“Miss Zeris Mons I presume? You made excellent time in getting here. We are still waiting for the others. I suspect they will be along any time. As you can see,” she held up her hands, “Things are busy around here. These warriors have been out helping other villages and areas that have been hard hit. Their village is still in pretty big disarray and they have several sick and wounded. If you wanted to stick around, you’d be most welcome. I’d be happy to take a look at those,” she gestured to Zeris’ cybernetic limbs as she began to walk back deeper into the devastated village. It was apparent that there was still a lot of cleaning up to do and that the locals were making the best of the situation. “Make sure they’re synced right or even see about growing you some skin or new arms and legs. When time allows of course. Is there any chance you would want to go and heft a few fallen beams from some collapsed huts on the east side of the village? They haven’t had the time what with going out every day and nursing their own. Besides,” she lowered her voice to a whisper, leaning in towards the mercenary, “they are wirey and strong, but it will take a half dozen of them with pulleys and winches working all day to clean up those firebombed community buildings”

 

 

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Zeris' eyes narrowed by a fraction of an inch as she watched the native Felucian approach. Tough, determined, disciplined...a fine example of a warrior upbringing characterized by a harsh environment. People like this were dangerous to fight, and even more dangerous to underestimate. Anyone who lived their life fighting against the odds knew how to even them. But it was his stance that caught her eye.

 

Rear foot held further back than normal. Grip on spear wider, and angled upward several degrees more than necessary.

 

This warrior is used to hunting large game. Very large.

 

When the Mon Cal that Zeris presumed was Jedi Master Kil emerged, her attention broke away from the Felucian warrior and to her new prospective client. This one was...different from the other Jedi she'd already seen. Zeris couldn't put a word to the feeling, but for a moment she remembered living in the halls of the Echani colonists, walking with her adopted siblings, being given her first meal by her adoptive mother. She remembered living on the cargo freighter she'd stowed away on, grinning like a stunned idiot when the crew threw her an impromptu birthday party, or standing in disbelieving silence as the captain handed over her first pay.

 

Then she remembered further back. She remembered a long bunkhouse on the edge of a mineshaft surrounded by thick snow and glaring sunlight. She remembered her first bed, carved up with a little girl's doodles. Her mother, cradling her. Her father, hugging her.

 

Zeris blinked, and the memories faded, and she immediately understood why Jedi were so dangerous.

 

Goodwill. This woman radiates goodwill.

 

Keeping her composure, her mood already lapsing back into ennui, Zeris listened to what the Jedi had to say.

 

2 hours ago, Leena Kil said:

“Make sure they’re synced right or even see about growing you some skin or new arms and legs. When time allows of course. Is there any chance you would want to go and heft a few fallen beams from some collapsed huts on the east side of the village? They haven’t had the time what with going out every day and nursing their own. Besides,” she lowered her voice to a whisper, leaning in towards the mercenary, “they are wirey and strong, but it will take a half dozen of them with pulleys and winches working all day to clean up those firebombed community buildings”

 

She held up her arms, giving them a once over before flexing at the elbows.

 

"I'm fine. And sure, I'll help. Come get me when you're ready." She started walking away, calling back, "Ship won't take off without me."

 

_______________________________________________________

 

Zeris found the burnt out huts easily enough. They were black, ashen blots in what had once been a community that would have disappeared into the jungle if you looked at it from the wrong angle. Wooden beams, cracked and dark from fire, lay scattered across the burnt out frames of huts. Zeris considered the problem with the same care she'd examine a difficult bounty or dangerous opponent.

 

The problem was he body wasn't *fully* upgraded. With her torso still flesh, bone, and blood, she had to be careful what she lifted or she could wrench her own spine or worse. Some of the lighter beams might be safely within her capabilities, but the larger ones would need a more careful approach.

 

In the end, Zeris decided to go about it with a different (albeit just as direct) approach. Saying only "Master Kil sent me," as explanation to any curious onlookers, she approached the first large beam until she stood at its base. She checked where it was resting, what was resting on it, and rechecked three more times until she was sure she understood what she was looking at. Then, she drew back on fist and punched.

 

The beam shuddered, as a crack shot up the center of the beam where she'd struck, following an existing grain that the fire had already forced to separate. The next punch struck the same spot, and several more cracks formed and lengthened. Then the next punch came. Then the next.

 

Within seconds, a sound not unlike industrial equipment rang out through the jungle as Zeris' jackhammer fists took apart the beam, and it was soon followed by a splintering sound as the beam gave away and crumbled into the ash. Zeris moved along its length, and with several more sessions of rapid-fire strikes, reduced the whole beam to several smaller sections of splintered wood.

 

She moved to the next beam, barely winded and her arms still at full capacity.

 

Day was just getting started, and she had work to do.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Leena smiled as the cybernetic mercenary made her way into the destroyed village followed by a gaggle of villagers. It warmed her heart; this hardened warrior, her heart still held a warmth for others. Why else would she go to help they that she had no other connection to? “That Reaper Joe, always full of surprises,” she chuckled softly shaking her head as she turned and made her way back towards the makeshift medical ward in one of the few yet standing longhouses. Soon enough the sound of Zeris’ jackhammering blows rang through the heavy jungle air.

 

Back in the ward, Leena pushed up her sleeves. The hot dense humid air was still here, making it even stickier as it mingled with the distinct odors of injury and illness. Grabbing a pot of clean water mixed with sanitizer and what passed for a stack of sterile rags, the Jedi Healer moved towards a fevered villager with a gapping wound that ran down his broken leg. With an expert eye, Leena eyed the poor workman, took in his pain and felt it pressing against her heart.
 

Leena inhaled, reaching for the force. It was all about her as thick as the hot heavy humidity that hung in the air. She drew the man’s pain, coating it in protective healing energies. She extinguished the pain with a touch of the man’s forehead, using the rag to mop away his fevered sweat. Dipping it in the cool water, she set the cloth atop the man’s forehead before moving towards the source of the bodily devastation; the torn and broken leg. He had been crushed by the very pillar Zeris was even now addressing.

 

With the skills of a surgeon, her hands led by the force, Leena began to gingerly purge the infection from the man’s elongated wound. She hummed softly as she worked, her voice crossing between the natural and supernatural, calling forth the pain and sickness, fostering tissue growth and healing at an exponential rate. Puss oozed forth at her calling. She wiped it away as her fingers chased the trails of deadened flesh cauterizing it away with a touch. Her presence filled the room, her very works aiding the healing of others that she was not even attending. Healing and life poured forth as she drew on the living force, connecting each wounded and sick patient to the healers and medics at work and to those in the village beyond. Attitudes were bolstered and footsteps quickened. Muscles strengthened and  exhaustion dissipated like course sand beneath the tide. Life itself seemed to flourish in the village-encompassing aura of the Mon Cal. The smell of salted sea water seemed to settle across the village bringing with it a gentle cool mist against the heat of the day.

 

As she worked, Leena’s warm joyful song, gently hummed between concentrated lips, a second natured act as the woman focused on her task at hand, seemed to waft across the village, a faint tune in the ear of anyone that stopped to hear it. It told a wordless story of regeneration and life, of the conquering of death and darkness. It spoke of a love of life and passionate compassion for the least of these. All who heard it would be encouraged, empowered deep in their soul, to embrace their lightest and most pure traits and to act upon them in selfless acts for the greater good.

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The landing of the transport in the Felucian jungle was uneventful. The two droids exited the ship quietly, taking on a brunt of last minute stares before the ship closed itself up and left for other parts of the galaxy. Ruin glanced at the leaving ship once then turned his attention to the jungles around him. 


“Lots of guts. No guns.” Ruin commented. Fera seemed to nod at this. The people here were still repairing and rebuilding from the Sith attack. People were dismantling wrecked buildings. Soldiers were carrying wounded. Despite the time that had passed, healing for the planet was still needed. But contrary to the pain and destruction that could be seen, the planet was still very alive. 


“I suggest we find the healer named Kil and carry on with the…”


Ruin didn’t listen. A sound had gotten his attention. The pounding of metal fists into wood and debris. Ruin stepped towards where the sound was coming from. Despite all of his weapons holstered, the people who could see the droid couldn’t help but imagine he was ready to attack something. 


Fera gave what sounded like a sigh and followed, crawling up to his usual shoulder mount. As part of allowing Ruin to become autonomous, he had to be allowed to choose his own path towards his own goals. All Fera could do was advise and guide, and hopefully protect. 


Ruin came to a stop. A short distance away, the source of the noise was visible. A young humanoid female, with cybernetic arms, was making short work of the debris before her with said arms. 


After a brief look, Ruin approached. A nearby soldier saw Ruin and went off to notify the people in charge, including the Jedi healer who was busy with the wounded. 
Ruin came to a stop before the female. Fera gave a few chirps and buzzings, in a cheap imitation of a cough. 


“Attention undisclosed female. This semi-independent droid is designation B5-87, codename: RUIN.  My designation is F5-18-1. Codename: FERA. We are searching for…” 


“Killer healer. We are looking for a killer healer. And Sith. Got to kill Sith. You got good arms. Good to kill Sith.” At this, Ruin gave a nod towards the female’s arms." 


“Yes…” Fera continued. “We are looking for Healer Kill. Would you be able to assist us?”

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Felucia... It was a world that Lok hadn't been to since he left the Jedi Order and followed Master Kyrie into what was now known as the Imperial Knights. To step out of the transport behind Ruin and Fera upon his soil once again only antagonized his mixed feelings about working with the Jedi Order, and as he felt the pain of the world flow through him, he could only grimace at the Jedi's failings.

 

In silence he wandered about, not straying too far from the two he was meant to watch over, but far enough that he could gather a feel for the world he last stepped upon as a Jedi Knight. He could see the world's pain as much as he could feel it. The injured wailed, the broken sat stagnant, and everything laid in ruin. In his heart sat sadness, for this world would take generations to recover even with their aid.

 

But Felucia was not why he was here. Nor were it's citizens and misplaced refugees. No. It was the Jedi Healer they had came to support, and upon opening his mind and soul to the Force, he was quickly able to locate @Leena Kil. Her presence was subtle, yet powerful, a Master of her craft. But she was a Jedi, and he still held a disdained belief in their weakness. Not personally toward the Healer, for each had their own role to play, but in their reluctance to fight. In their inability to react, worlds like this one suffer. This was why he walked away from the Order with Kyrie and the others. And he didn't attempt to hide this fact in his emotional presence.

 

"Ruin...Fera..." Lok spoke as he stepped beside the two droids, offering the young girl a brief nod in his arrival as he pointed out the fleeing guard. "I don't believe we will be requiring her assistance. Our ward shall know of our arrival momentarily."

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I heard the visitors before I saw them. The crunching of underbrush signaled them as foreign to this world as I was, but it was the natives that gave me my real warning. Each of them tensed a full second before I'd even picked up the sounds of the approaching pair, and I watched one warrior adjust his grip on his spear while "casually" leaning against a wall. These people had been through a lot, and I certainly wasn't about to blame them for being jumpy.

 

When the two emerged, my eyes immediately locked onto the droid. I'd like to say it was threat assessment or something impressive sound like that, but honestly it was just a lot of droid. Definitely Baktoid design, but not a model I recognized. I racked my brain, calling up fuzzy images from old history books, but I couldn't remember any Trade Federation droid that had looked like it had been built around the skeleton of an abyssin bodybuilder. I briefly glanced and then did a double take at the very recognizable frame of the buzz droid with the big guy, and my breath caught for a second. You go through one bad job with a couple of those little chittering monsters crawling all over you with their saws whining will make anyone nervous. I've punched people who tell me they're "harmless".

 

Or worse, "cute".

 

The other one was a warrior. I could tell before his face even registered. The armor, the stride, the posture, all of it screamed veteran. Then I recognized the armor, and took a closer look. An Imperial Knight out here, working with the Jedi. Mix in the droid duo and myself, and this was turning into a pretty eclectic group.

 

I stayed silent but kept my eyes steady as they approached.

 

On 11/20/2021 at 10:14 AM, TerrorBot said:

“Attention undisclosed female. This semi-independent droid is designation B5-87, codename: RUIN.  My designation is F5-18-1. Codename: FERA. We are searching for…” 


“Killer healer. We are looking for a killer healer. And Sith. Got to kill Sith. You got good arms. Good to kill Sith.” At this, Ruin gave a nod towards the female’s arms." 


“Yes…” Fera continued. “We are looking for Healer Kill. Would you be able to assist us?”

 

On 11/20/2021 at 11:36 AM, Skyshatter said:

"Ruin...Fera..." Lok spoke as he stepped beside the two droids, offering the young girl a brief nod in his arrival as he pointed out the fleeing guard. "I don't believe we will be requiring her assistance. Our ward shall know of our arrival momentarily."

 

An accountant I'd once hunted who'd had a very impressive vocabulary (but not the common sense to not get caught embezzling company funds from his personal computer) had called me "phlegmatic", "laconic", and "taciturn". At the time I hadn't understood what those words meant. Echani don't talk much as a principle, and impromptu freighter crew families tend to teach a whole different kind of vocabulary. After I'd looked them up, I'd learned they were all just fancy ways of saying I don't talk much. And...I don't. Maybe Lady Tajara and the Echani way of life rubbed off on me more than I thought, but I always saw talking as kind of like fighting. You don't get points for fancy flourishes, or how fast you can flurry-punch the air before you get down to business. Its about getting the job done, and doing it right. If two words can do what 20 words can, then why waste your breath? Plus it helped sell the whole "stoic" thing, and branding is important in any commission business.

 

I pulled out a cigarra and lit it up, taking a few puffs to steady myself before responding to the pair.

 

"Leena's this way." I started walking away.

 

"Also, I'm your pilot."

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The Mon Cal worked tirelessly. The force rippled in the air with the power that radiated about the room. Wounds knitted themselves shut beneath her hands, purged of infection and disease. Throughout the ward and beyond, the tingle of life bloomed and grew. It best back the darkness of unwarranted suffering and death. Through it all, Leena’s light melodic hum carried as she and healers and medics worked with force-imbued vigor.

 

As the wooden door creaked on it’s hinges at the arrival of the eclectic group, Leena’s eyes were drawn to their arrival. Nodding to Zeris and company, Leena finished tying off the bandage she was working on before turning to  walk towards the others. Grabbing a clean rag, she wiped her hands clean, her white robes flecked with blood still. 
 

 A worn smile crossed Leena’s face. The constant work and plaguing dreams had taken their toll on her.  At last, they would be off looking for answers. Visages of darkness played at the back of her mind. Thoughts of the mysteriously shrouded dark world, monsters, Sith emblems, what did it all mean? Why was she being called to them? What was this world and what was the force summoning her there for?

 

”Captain Mons,” Leena bowed slightly in greeting to the cybernetic warrior, “You have already been of great service here, but I believe the time of our departure is upon us. Thank you.”

 

Turning to Lok Skyshatter and Ruin & Fera, Leena looked them over with a glance. One was an Imperial Knight; not what she had expected when she had reached out to her intelligence associate, but not a total surprise either. “Welcome Knight. I am glad to have your blade by my side.”

 

Turning her gaze to the duo of droids, she scratched her head. They were more what she had expected; but still, she was intrigued by them. “You are quit the cute little buzzdroid,” she complemented with a smile, knowing full well each droid probably possessed  the ability to destroy the entire village. “Tell me friend,  what is your primary designation?”

 

Gesturing for the group to step out of the ward into the village clearing, she pulled the door behind her. “I am glad you are all here. Too much time has elapsed already. There is much to discuss. I do not know what you have been told already. Even I do not have all the answers, all I know is that we are traveling to a world of darkness, unnatural evil wrought by the Sith in some way. If you have any pressing questions, ask them now; otherwise, let us gather what supplies we need and meet with Captain Mons and her ship.” Leena turned to Zeris with a gesture, allowing her to give details of her ship and where to go.

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My second meeting with the Jedi I'd be taking this journey with confirmed my initial impression, perhaps more so than the first time. This woman was Good, the capital kind. It was the kind of good you carve into the face of some hero's statue, the kind you put in a bedtime story because you don't believe it could really exist, the kind that doesn't feel like it should exist outside of a philosophy holobook. Which made it all the more wondrous when you realized it was the genuine article.

 

I took another look around at the group around me. The bizarre (and probably violent) droid duo, the fierce Imperial Knight, the noble and kind Jedi...if this group wasn't the kind to get into some strange shenanigans, then my instincts were dead and buried.

 

I could feel my lip twitch into a shadow of a smile. I liked shenanigans.

 

3 hours ago, Leena Kil said:

Gesturing for the group to step out of the ward into the village clearing, she pulled the door behind her. “I am glad you are all here. Too much time has elapsed already. There is much to discuss. I do not know what you have been told already. Even I do not have all the answers, all I know is that we are traveling to a world of darkness, unnatural evil wrought by the Sith in some way. If you have any pressing questions, ask them now; otherwise, let us gather what supplies we need and meet with Captain Mons and her ship.” Leena turned to Zeris with a gesture, allowing her to give details of her ship and where to go.

 

I nodded at her cue, and took a long draw on my cigarra before answering.

 

"Ship's 150 yards that way," I said, jerking my metal thumb over my shoulder and out the door. "Old Nu-class attack shuttle, but she's got new parts, so don't worry how she looks." I took another draw on the cigarra, finishing it off. Not wanting to leave burn marks in the hut (I'm not a total boor), I put it out between my prosthetic fingers, crumbling it into black soot that I flicked into one of my coat pockets.

 

I turned back to the Jedi. "I'll go prep the nav. Takeoff on your say boss."

 

I walked out of the hut and started hiking back towards the ship.

 

If I had to be honest, I'll admit I was a bit excited. This was exactly the strange kind of nonsense I'd needed.

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"Leena's this way. Also, I’m your pilot”

 

Ruin followed the female closely behind, glancing at Lok and giving him a scanning over, as if analyzing the man’s walk and facial expressions. 

 

“Tensions and Teeth? Or Exhaustions and Exceptions?” 

 

Fera didn’t seem to desire to translate the question that Ruin had placed forth, so it was up to the Jedi to draw his own conclusion at what Ruin meant. 

 

Finally, the group met the Jedi Healer. Ruin tilted his head when she introduced herself, as if a thousand questions were forming in the silicon brain of the terror droid. Fera even seemed intrigued as it moved from one of Ruin’s large shoulders to the other as if to get a better scan over the being in front of them. 

 

“You are quit the cute little buzz droid. Tell me friend,  what is your primary designation?”

 

Fera paused for a moment, then started into what seemed to be a memorized and recited introduction. 

 

“This semi-independent droid is designation B5-87, codename: RUIN.  My designation is F5-18-1. Codename: FERA. You must be Healer Kill?”

 

“Killer Healer.” Ruin stated plainly, head still slightly tilted.  “But no weapon? Odd Healer. Jedi Healer? Odd for a Jedi. Still, looks like a Jedi. Two Jedi is good. Better than one. I like. Good for dealing with Sith.”

 

After Leena talked, and the female named Mons mentioned her ship, Ruin’s attention turned towards Mons with pure intention.  When she left, Ruin followed, not stating a word for the entire trip. Fera seemed to show a genuine confused expression, as much as a buzz droid could show. Between the glancings back to where the Leena and Lok were left behind and forward towards their captain, Fera’s buzzings turned to a low growl, and jumped off to crawl back to the group to ask his own questions.

 

“Healer Kil, I must ask…” The Buzz droid started, its beepings and chirpings hopefully understood by someone in the area.  “Where is it that we are traveling to? Why is this task so unofficial? Are we dealing with something more illicit like our previous mission? Because I believe there is a 45% chance Ruin will go renegade if this mission has nothing to do with the Sith.”

 

Meanwhile, Ruin continued to follow Mons silently, not stealthing his footsteps at all but not stating a single word neither. His silence stopped however the ship became visible. Just as the Mons had said, the ship was a box-like looking vehicle with wings. A true Nu-class shuttle.  


“Fly and Fry” Ruin said as he stepped closer to the vehicle and placed a metal hand on a wing, creating a slight scratching noise as the palm slid over the metal slowly.  “Fly and Fry. Crash and bash. Guns and gas and guts. Smoke and smash.  Bad time, good ships.” 

 

Ruin looked at Captain Mons, and tilted his head. “Not white? Eh, still good. Fly good. Fly fast. You fly fast?  I fly fast. Crash fast too. Flash and crash, heheh. You ever flash and crash?”
 

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Lok watched the young lady before them, her posture and half met gaze speaking volumes about her where words mattered little. Her words were to the point and short, but her movements and actions lasting longer. She held experience, of this, Lok held no doubt. As she spoke and started her departure, Lok offered her the lead with an outstretched arm and quickly fell in line behind her. It seemed that fate had brought them to her and her part had yet played out.

 

"Tensions and exhaustions..." Lok responded to Ruin as he broke his silence amidst their casual stride, his gaze steadily forward as they traversed the distance to the Jedi. "Felucia... It is a world I haven't sat foot on in many years, not since I left the Order behind."

 

Lok briefly glances to Ruin and Fera. "Not exactly on good terms."

 

Turning his gaze back forward, Lok let it drift across the tents and fields. The pain here echoed the Jedi's usual inaction and it still pained him to see it despite their newly appointed and active roles in the war that claimed many worlds like Felucia. He couldn't help but ponder the course of actions and reactions that could have saved those worlds if the Jedi had acted sooner and not dealt with the schism that led to his leaving. Perhaps the Sith would not have grown so powerful and held such a grasp of command upon the Galaxy. Perhaps Onderon..

 

Lok shook the thought from his mind as the group entered a medical hut, the clanking of the wooden door and the squeaking of it's hinges shouldering the announcement of their arrival. Shifting his gaze to the Mon Calamari, a sight rarely visited outside that of the Rebellion or Mon Cal due to their reservations about space faring, Lok simply nodded. He could see the tiredness and exhaustion that wore its self upon both the skin of her face and in her eyes, and her presence within the Force regarded it highly even as the sun shown it physically once outside.

 

"A blade is only as good as the intentions of his wielder." Lok responded in course as she spoke to each and then in general. "Forgive my reservation, but we haven't been informed of much... only that we are to escort you. Can you elaborate slightly more? I don't want to walk into this blindly, especially if the Darkside is involved."

 

After the events of Mon Cal, Lok had remained guarded against even his own emotions, the Darkness he brushed upon while there still lingering upon his mind. And with Outer Heaven, he felt the call to take life without remorse, especially where the Shistavanien had been concerned. It seemed the intentions and emotional composure of those around him was affecting his own, and Lok had pulled  up a mental barrier to block such influences. With the missions as of late delving in the Dark Side, Lok had very little time to center himself against it's currents.

 

Lok watched as Captain Mons and Ruin departed, his question hanging upon the wind as he awaited her answer. And it seemed that Fera held her own reservations, her questions similar to his own as the Droid returned and poised them, and sparking his own reservations about Ruin. He was beginning to actually like a droid, and Ruin's personality was a good fit with his own. But just as Ruin and Fera's mission was to escort and watch over Healer Kil, Lok's was to escort and watch over Ruin and Fera. If Ruin was to go rogue, Lok was ordered to stop him. And in his silence, Lok's facial expression revealed this. Biting the nail of his thumb, Lok looked to Fera.

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Leena canted her head at the odd pair of droids. While she held no reservations towards them for being automated, she did not know nearly as much about how they functioned compared to standard organics. So the whirs and beeps of Fera’s communications would seem cute had not Leena realized the droid was trying to communicate . . . something. The larger automaton was not a slouch either. Clearly it carried some sort of combat programming beyond ‘bodyguard’.  Yet it clearly held some sort of resentment, be it developed or programmed, towards the Sith specifically. Time would tell if that would be help or hinderance where they were going.

 

Before she could respond Zeris and the bots had taken off towards the ship. For a brief moment, Leena wondered if the mechanized portions of them had some invisible draw towards other things of a mechanical nature? It was a thought she quickly bypassed, something for another time. There were more pressing matters at hand.

 

Leena turned her attention to the Imperial Knight. It was clear, beneath the surface, the man was perturbed to even be here. His guarded stance and mind betrayed a troublesome enigma beneath their protective barriers. What it was, remained to be seen. Offering a warm, albeit tired, smile, Leena turned so she stood side by side with the Knight. She slid an arm up to rest her hand on his shoulder in comfort, not control. A Knight did well to guard against the darkness, for their order strayed closer to it than the Jedi would dare. A warmth relayed from her fingertips, the cleansing soul purifying dignity that came with being renewed in body and mind.
 

Before she could speak, the buzz droid had returned, this time without her larger companion. Leena shook her head. “I do not understand you little friend. And in a place like this, I am not sure there are many that would” Looking from the brains of the droid duo to Lok and back, she nodded at Lok’s words. “I wish I had more answers myself. Sadly, any answer I have found only opens more questions. What I know is that our pilot was hired by my friends. So she is not Imperial is my guess. She knows where we are going, and presumably how to get us there in one piece. Before she arrived, I did not even know that. Byss is a world shrouded in mystery. The Sith held it once. Probably why my friends did not want to go there. Still, they were able to find where these visions seem to connect too.” She shrugged. “Maybe that is why I am having visions of the place. The Sith were there, some old sorceries or something, maybe something worse? Dark visions. Shadows just out of sight that crawl into my dreams. Ancient Sith writing. Spells? Scriptures? Instructions? I don’t know. And that is what we are going to find, answers; what this all means. I am not a Jedi of futures, of dreams and visions. I am a healer, called to mend the broken and destroyed. Maybe,” her voice took on an air of hope, “we can mend whatever rift this is too.”

 

And they began to turn, walking slowly in the direction of the ship. “So I imagine that is where you come in. I reached out to an old Imperial friend and asked for some help. No sense pulling Jedi away in a time like this and where we might be going, uniformed soldiers or anyone associated openly with either of our orders might draw unwanted attention. Like your bigger friend noted, I do not have a lightsaber. Mine was lost in the last great battle. I am not sure if I want to craft another one. In a galaxy plagued by violence,” she trailed off shaking her head. A moment later, she turned to look at Fera. she winked. “If violence is necessary, I hope you lot are up to the challenge. By the looks of it your friend would welcome a Sith entanglement. I hope it does not come to that. But given what we know, who knows. I am happy to have all of you along.”


_______________________________

 

Back at the ship, a small gaggle of native Felucians stood admiring the vessel. They had seen craft often enough, but this lot lived deep enough in the jungles that the opportunity to really examine one up close came rarely. Excitedly they ran their hands over the craft, examining the plating, guns, all of it with wonder. It was not their way, the ways of their people; but death had rained down in such craft. To study the enemy, to know their ways, exploit their weaknesses, it was the way of the warrior.
 

But like they that brought death, so did others come with other intentions; some to help, some with other ideations. Like she that had come in this craft, part being and part machine, like the Sith monstrosities that had devastated their homes.  Thankfully this one was different. She came and helped. Wether to make amends for her people’s actions or something else, who knew.

 

When Ruin and Zeris approached, the natives clambered off the craft. One, their leader, a sinewy and taut war-painted veteran hefted an intricately crafted spear of salvaged durasteel and held it up in two hands, parallel to the ground. The head was fused to the shaft and offered a wicked jagged point complete with spines that seemed to be intent on inflicting as much fleshy damage as possible. “For you.” He proffered the weapon. “To kill those that did this. Avenge us.” Another warrior hefted two sealed containers. One was a sealed container of acidic metal-dissolving goo derived by unspoken ritual by their people. The second, a fast-hardening resin to recoat the spear  to make sure the acid did not eat it away. The warrior that pressed the ornate containers into Zeris’ hands hissed with a chuckle as he eyed Ruin. “Works on those brutes too.” 

 

 

 

 

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On 11/24/2021 at 12:59 AM, TerrorBot said:

“Fly and Fry” Ruin said as he stepped closer to the vehicle and placed a metal hand on a wing, creating a slight scratching noise as the palm slid over the metal slowly.  “Fly and Fry. Crash and bash. Guns and gas and guts. Smoke and smash.  Bad time, good ships.” 

 

Ruin looked at Captain Mons, and tilted his head. “Not white? Eh, still good. Fly good. Fly fast. You fly fast?  I fly fast. Crash fast too. Flash and crash, heheh. You ever flash and crash?”

 

I keyed in the access code, and the gangway of The Crate lowered as the large droid talked. I started to wonder about him. Most droids either talk less than even I do or they love the sounds of their own vocabulators so much they wear them out in a week. This droid was different. It almost sounded like he was experimenting, like a kid who'd never held a sword suddenly taking one for a few swings.

 

"You're fun," I said around what was left of my last cigarra. I really needed to slow down on these. "Don't break anything." I grinned then, a genuine grin, and that surprised me. It wasn't just the excitement of the mission. Something about this droid was...I wasn't sure...charming? "Yes. I fly fast."

 

In truth, a long time ago I'd disabled a few of the inertial dampeners on The Crate and never repaired them. Just enough to cut the compensation a few percentile of course, not enough to be dangerous. But enough to feel some of those Gs.

 

My smile got a little wider.

 

On 11/25/2021 at 9:56 PM, Leena Kil said:

When Ruin and Zeris approached, the natives clambered off the craft. One, their leader, a sinewy and taut war-painted veteran hefted an intricately crafted spear of salvaged durasteel and held it up in two hands, parallel to the ground. The head was fused to the shaft and offered a wicked jagged point complete with spines that seemed to be intent on inflicting as much fleshy damage as possible. “For you.” He proffered the weapon. “To kill those that did this. Avenge us.” Another warrior hefted two sealed containers. One was a sealed container of acidic metal-dissolving goo derived by unspoken ritual by their people. The second, a fast-hardening resin to recoat the spear  to make sure the acid did not eat it away. The warrior that pressed the ornate containers into Zeris’ hands hissed with a chuckle as he eyed Ruin. “Works on those brutes too.”

 

I blinked at the unexpected gift. To be given a weapon in thanks by strangers...that said more of the quality of these people than it did of me or what I'd done.

 

I accepted the spear with all the solemn gravitas I would have given an Echani master bestowing a title. Taking the spear in both hands, I bowed to the native.

 

"I will be worthy of it."

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Lok lowered the nail of his thumb from his mouth as Leena's energy transferred into his own, a sense of tranquility coming over him briefly before he recoiled and pulled his shoulder away with a disdained look upon his face. He held nothing of note against the Jedi Healer, at least, other than her being a member of his former Order, the Jedi. But in some circles of the Order, he was among the opinion of being considered fallen, a Revanchist. And he held no knowledge of where her opinion in this matter laid. In this, he was reserved and cautious, even if they happened be allies at the moment.

 

"I can translate Fera well enough. Her questions were similar to my own." Lok responded to Leena's own concerning the small Buzz Droid before turning his own concerns of this mission back to the Mon Cal Jedi. "In essence, we're going into this mission blindly, with no real reason to pursue it other than the visions plaguing you and upon the advice of friends outside both of our Orders? I must confess Master Jedi. The reasoning alludes me and I am uncomfortable in this task. Could these friends of yours be behind this with the information they have readily available to give?"

 

In all honesty, what Leena revealed to Lok and Fera made the Knight question her sanity. Everything was too vague, half truths, and barely made sense. But given the effects upon her mind and body as the Force flowed through her, Lok questioned her narrative. Perhaps she had misspoken, or intentionally left something out. At this moment, he couldn't tell. For sleep deprivation could easily mess with the mind as much as the sanity of someone, triggering such ailments. But so could the Dark Side. And given her reluctance to keep the Jedi Order out of this situation, he could easily see both sides. Still... An Order was an Order and he was a Solider through and through.

 

Briefly, his gaze turned to Fera as the trio walked along the path set out before them.

 

"I suppose that Byss is worth checking out, simply to put both our minds at ease or to get to the truth of this matter." Lok spoke, having turned his gaze back to the Jedi and his stern eyes focused upon her own. "In this, I am greatful for the small group we have amassed. But, and I say this with all due respect Jedi, I am a Knight of her Imperial Majesty's and my days as a former Jedi are over. I will keep this mission and those under my care professional at all costs. I have a duty to them as much as I do my Empress and at the first sign of things going south, I will pull the plug on it. I hope you can respect this."

 

Lok couldn't help but feel he was being overly harsh by this moment as the ship began to distantly come into view. But whether this turned out to be dire or not, he was openly blunt about his mission directive. He wore the Crimson Armor of an Imperial Knight and as long as he adorn his armor, he had to keep appearences tight. Plus, if this truly was the work of the Dark Side or a Practitioner, he had to keep his guard up. Especially with Ruin's affinity to slash and bash.

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While the others spoke and walked, Fera’s little legs struggled to keep up, at first skittering across the forested floor, and when that proved to be occasionally a little slow, resorted to jumping from overturned log to pieces of ruined debris.


“While I am not one to believe in matters of faith…” Fera beeped and chatterred while crawling over a piece of metal. “I do know that Ruin has great faith in the Jedi and their insights. No matter their blade color. 


At this, Fera stopped and gave a glancing look towards Lok’s blade. Whether this was an indication that the buzz droid had noticed Lok was not like most Jedi or something else, she didn’t say. However, she continued her beepings and buzzings as she attempted to keep up with the other two.


“If you insinuate there are ‘sith writings’ at play here, I believe that this will satisfy my ward. And if Byss was once held by Sith, then it is appropriate to believe that they are still at work there. Back when I was manufactured, there was only one Sith of note, and now there are considerably more. Sith do not die. They only go to sleep. Ruin understands this to a degree and will go to Byss with enthusiasm”

 

____

 “Don't break anything. Yes I fly very fast”


Ruin seemed to nod at this and gave a thumbs up towards the pilot. 


While Zeris talked with the natives, Ruin seemed to ignore them and continued his inspection of the ship, muttering the entire time. Words about battle, flying, and death flowed from the droid like sludge from a pipe: Intermittently and in bursts. 


Eventually, Ruin stepped out of the ship, and upon seeing the spear in the pilot’s hands, nodded. 


“Stabs and skewers. Acids and burns. Good good. But flames and fires better.” 


At this, Ruin pulled out his X-Pyre grenade and tossed it up and down, almost as if to taunt the natives slightly. 

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Leena walked along beside the Knight, ignoring his recoil at her touch. Whatever plagued the man was deeper than a surface revulsion if she, her position, or her order. She regarded the man for a moment before falling back into step with him as they walked. She listened as he spoke. A smile tugged at the corners of her weary face. She did not understand the bleeping droid, unsure if it was angry or joyful as it careened through the underbrush. She took that it could not be too bad. The bot was following them after all.

 

After Lok finished speaking, Leena turned his words over in her mind. It was true, they were going in blind as it were; as blind as one might be, “In the force, one is never truly blind my brother. These friends of mine have saved my life a thousand times over. They have never steered me wrong before. Just as I am a Jedi and you a Knight of the Empress, there are many paths of life. One is not better than the other so long as they follow the truth and do not seek to edify selfish ambitions. We do not know how those paths will journey; but we all put our trust in something greater.” As they rounded a bend in the path, the gunship came into view as a band of Felucian warriors turned and scurried into the brush, vanishing as if they never were. Even in the force their presence was clouded by the living world, the force around them.
 

Pausing, Leena turned to face Lok. She looked him in the eye.  “I know your Empress. She and I trained together when I was but a Padawan. She is a good woman. I would trust that anyone who followed her had a purity of heart worthy of such an appointment. I also know the Admiral that sent you to me. He comes from yet another path; raised among the Mandalorians, dedicated to spy craft and war. He carries a goodness of will and steel character that carries his spirit towards the light of truth.”
 

“You seem troubled though, Sir Knight. Where we are going, I sense a strange rippling darkness that consumes all it touches. What it is, I do not know. I do not even know how to get there. For that, I am trusting our pilot, one who is not in the orders of you or I; but who is here under my invitation. I am trusting the force to guide us. What happens will happen. We will find what it is that we are seeking, be it Sith atrocities, Dark Side malevolence, or peoples in need. If you do not desire to accompany us, I will respect that.”

 

Leena knew that the droids and cyborg were a protective layer against the manipulations the dark side especially where force users might be concerned. She had poured over whatever bits of information she could find on Byss. It was not much and what she could find was unnerving at best.

 

Grabbing Lok by the shoulder, Leena nodded knowingly to the Knight before dropping her arm to her side. Turning she made her way towards the others at the ship. She offered a smile and a nod to Zeris. “Captain. Lovely spear.” She paused giving the primitive weapon a once over. “My gear should be along momentarily. Then we are in your capable hands and . . .  (¿) ship (?). We can depart when you give the word.” Her eyes ran over the worn vessel. She inhaled, calming her internal turmoil. Surely such a craft, kept by such a being, had it where it counted.

 

Looking to Ruin, “If you could avoid turning people into flambé, that would be appreciated. That being said, if the Sith monsters get out of hand,” she gestured to the flamethrower encouragingly. 

 

A few minutes later a wheeled droid rolled down the bumpy path, chirping angrily at each dip and divot. “I am a medical droid. I am meant to be left indoors!” It carried a case of medical equipment and spare robes. Rolling up to Ruin, the fine-appendaged bot addressed the hulking war machine his tone straying from pure annoyance to one tinged with shades of respect. “These are for Jedi Council Master Kil for her journey. Where should I deposit them?”

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